A good starter miter saw or second miter saw for fast work

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Review by ferstler posted 12-18-2008 12:31 AM 10471 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A good starter miter saw or second miter saw for fast work No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I am not sure if this saw is still available with the exact specifications and model number of this one, but they do have one in the same price class: $99.00 and it probably works just as well.

As with all models in this size class, the saw can cut a 2×6 at 90 degrees and a 2×4 at 45. The miter-lock handle in right in front and the bevel release is in the back. It can bevel in one direction out to 45 degrees and the motor is a decently powerful 14-amp job. It comes with a decent carbide blade and the throat plate is a zero clearance job that you slot cut yourself once the saw is ready to go. To make blade changes easier the unit has a button-operated spindle lock. The saw comes with a useful horizontal clamp (although I prefer vertical ones like what I have with my big Ridgid 1290 slider) and a dust bag. The handle is a horizontally oriented type that I prefer to vertical versions. The motor has an electrical brake that stops it in a few short seconds after the trigger is released.

Ryobi makes a somewhat more expensive version of this saw that, I believe, comes with a laser guide, but other than that I cannot see a big advantage to the more upscale version – at least for those on a budget.

OK, $99 is cheap for a miter saw, and I would be remiss if I said that this was a superior saw that will work wonders for any serious woodworker. It will not. It is not all that precise when it comes to angle settings, and the miter pivot tends to bind after a fair amount of use. It still moves OK, but it is not as butter smooth as with my Ridgid 1290 12-inch sliding model.

However, what do you want for ninety-nine bucks? Some time back the wife and I were having a major-grade addition attached to our house and one of the super carpenters on the job (there is always a super carpenter or two on projects like this, and thank God for that) had one of the things in addition to the big DeWalt unit he kept stashed in his truck.

I asked him about it and he said that one simply could not lose with a saw that cost only a buck less than a C-note. He said he could lob it into the back of the truck, leave it out in the rain, and never worry about somebody in the area stealing it when it was left unattended. Yet, he said that he had owned his for eight months and that it still worked just fine, and was a great tool for some of the rough and tumble miter and cross-cutting framing work he had to do. When it finally broke he intended to just go get another just like it and soldier on. In the meantime, if really precise work was required he would use the DeWalt, but for not quite so serious cuts the little Ryobi was a workable tool.

I probably should have let him write this review, but a secondary source is better than nothing, and, besides, I have also used mine for some on-site work and it did fine for me. I helped a buddy do a church/charity project a while back where an individual could no longer use the stairs on their backyard deck. We built a ramp for their new wheelchair and the little Ryobi made all of the necessary cuts just fine.

Hard to beat that.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4441 days

5 comments so far

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1591 posts in 4682 days

#1 posted 12-18-2008 01:09 AM

As a downside, I’ve had both a Ryobi RAS and a Delta compound miter saw and have found that they don’t support their products with service parts and manuals after about ten years – if that long. It might be wise to purchase an extra saw guard and some other basic parts while the saw is still current.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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342 posts in 4441 days

#2 posted 12-18-2008 03:08 AM

Ten years is plenty for me, since I do not run my gear enough to put serious wear and tear on the stuff, anyway. I suppose this is one advantage to having lots of gear, with duplicate capabilities from various items. Hell, in ten years my wife will probably have me moved to the old folks home.

I did purchase spare brushes for the motors (the brushes for most of the Ryobi and Ridgid induction motors in the 14-15 amp range are the same), and I have also purchased spare drive belts here and there for my Ryobi, Ridgid, Delta, GMC, and Craftsman tools, hand type and stationary type. I have spare brushes for some of the non Ryobi and non Ridgid tools, too, of course, as well as spare tires for my two band saws. They (brushes and drive belts) probably never will need to be replaced, but since they are cheap why take chances?

I wonder how anybody could wear out a saw guard on a miter saw. The thing does not get all that much wear and tear, even with heavy use. Incidentally, Ryobi does not supply parts breakdown diagrams like Ridgid does, but I did discover a web site that has them available as PDF files on line and printed off a bunch. This could come in handy down the line.

It may be that spare tool parts are handled like some car parts. When a new model is built the car manufacturing people calculate how long various parts will approximately last and then build enough spares at that time to last just long enough. That is the last of the spare-parts production run. If those parts run out the only other option is rebuilt versions (if that is possible) or aftermarket items produced by specialized suppliers. The reasons for the way the manufacturers turn out spare parts at the time the cars themselves are built involve economics, and I suppose tool manufacturers have the same approach.

Howard Ferstler

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19 posts in 4430 days

#3 posted 12-24-2008 12:00 AM

Nice review Howard and I’d say it’s accurate. I have the same saw and am basically happy with it. It will cut accurate 90’s as long as you have a straight pull. Mine has a little side/side play if you don’t pull straight down. I think the swivel arm the saw rides on is just weak, and not loose fit. It also is a little ‘sticky’ when swiveling. I use mine mostly for outside projects where precision cuts aren’t as critical. I always use a square (or 45) to set the blade angle. I just can’t bring myself to trust a positive stop. I think it’s a great little saw for the money.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

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Mike Gager

665 posts in 4188 days

#4 posted 07-16-2009 07:14 PM

i have this saw and while i dont dislike it there are a few things about it i wish i could change. first off is the thing is really loud. i dont know if thats normal for saws in this price range but it sounds like the worlds coming to an end when you start it up. i can only assume its because of the universal motor type

secondly, on my saw i have a very hard time getting it to cut accurately. i have adjusted everything and when i think its perfect ill make a cut and it will be off. ive pretty much given up with trying to cut anything to finished length and just use the saw as a rough cut only machine which it does marvelously

View a1Jim's profile


118145 posts in 4498 days

#5 posted 07-16-2009 08:19 PM

Good review
This is a saw many people own a number of my students own it and it’s far better than a circular saw and is not made for production work. Most chop saws are not dead on accurate unless you spend $1600 for a high end one.


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